Going to Bed before It’s Dark

Myrtle Sheldon, illus. from "Child's Garden of Verses"

Myrtle Sheldon, illus. from “Child’s Garden of Verses”

I’m currently visiting my two-year-old grandson Alban and remembered a poem from my own childhood as he was being put to bed last night. There was still some daylight left, and Robert Louis Stevenson “Bed in Summer” captures a child’s sense of injustice at having to go to bed before it’s completely dark.

I devoured Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses when I was young and part of the reason may have been that I always felt that he understood me and was on my side. The greatest children’s poetry always gives that sense.

Bed in Summer

By Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night   
And dress by yellow candle-light.   
In summer, quite the other way,   
I have to go to bed by day.       

I have to go to bed and see          
The birds still hopping on the tree,   
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet   
Still going past me in the street.       

And does it not seem hard to you,   
When all the sky is clear and blue,   
And I should like so much to play,    
To have to go to bed by day?

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

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